Tributes flow in for shire leader Michael Tynan, acclaimed for his generous support of community groups and charities in southern Sydney

UPDATE

Tributes continue to flow from a wide range of people who are saddened at the overnight death of Michael Tynan following a long illness.

Praise for his contribution to the community, coupled with condolences to his family, have come from all quarters, including many comments on social media.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce said, as a former shire president, Mr Tynan was an outstanding leader who always had Sutherland Shire at heart and was prepared to fight for it and its people at every level. 

“Michael established Tynan Motors Group in 1966 which, has grown to become one of the shire’s largest employers,” he said.

“He remained passionate about supporting and fostering strong local business in the shire throughout his life. 

 “As well as his strong leadership, Michael’s life was characterised by service to his community.”

Cr Pesce said Mr Tynan won respect from both friends and political foes for his commitment to ensuring that Sutherland Shire Council was strong and efficient.

“He led a restructure of council in 1998, was the driving force behind the upgrade of Sutherland Leisure Centre and strongly supported the Rural Fire Service,” he said.

“Looking back at historical memos and council business papers, it is clear that Michael led with a firm but fair approach.

“His aim was to challenge everyone to work towards a better Sutherland Shire. 

“At every level, Michael has undoubtedly left a legacy of dedicated service and confident, compassionate and committed leadership that will be remembered long after his passing.”

Cronulla MP and Environment Minister Mark Speakman said  Mr Tynan was “a colossus of public life in the shire and beyond”.

“I knew him for over 30 years. He was forthright, passionate, genial and humorous – but above all a servant of the community on many fronts, including on council, the NRMA board and the Calvary board.

“He was a devoted family patriarch and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

NRMA president Kyle Loades said Mr Tynan was one of the motoring organisation’s great leaders.

His leadership had helped steer the organisation through its tumultuous post-demutualisation years and secure the NRMA’s future as a financially strong, member-driven organisation with more than 2.4 million members.

Mr Loades said, in the boardroom, Mr Tynan was “a shrewd businessman with an acute understanding of how best to serve our members”.

“He was also a mentor to many of his fellow directors, including myself.” 

Mr Loades said, as a leader in the St George and Sutherland region, Mr Tynan was “a fearless advocate for local issues and his hard work put the fight to complete the F6 Extension on the political radar”.

Michael Tynan has been described as ‘‘one of Sutherland Shire’s great leaders’’ and acclaimed for his generous support of community groups and charities in the shire and St George.

Federal Treasurer and Cook MP Scott Morrison said, "There are few who would have matched Michael's passion and love for his community, his shire".

"He gave a lifetime of service, commitment and contribution in both his civic, community and business life," Mr Morrison said.

"Above all he was a man of strong faith, values and decency who loved and cared deeply for his family, always leading from the front.

"He will be sadly missed, especially by Annette, Madeline, Kieran, Francine, Daniel and Claire and all the Tynan clan.

"He was a true pioneer and a great Australian. He will be greatly missed and rightly revered long after his passing."

Cycling promoter and public officer for St George Hospital's Cancer Care Centre and Prostate Cancer Institute, Phill Bates, said sports people in St George and the shire were just some of those who had been "enormous winners" from Mr Tynan's support.

"Michael was not just a great pioneer of business in the shire but was a person who gave so much of his time voluntarily to so many community projects and an enormous amount of time and energy to Sutherland Shire Council," he said.

EARLIER STORY

A former jeweller at Kogarah, Mr Tynan began selling cars from an old petrol station at Sutherland in 1966 and went on to become one of the shire’s biggest employers and a ‘‘giant’’ of the motor industry.

He served on Sutherland Shire Council for 18 years from 1974 and was president (mayor) in 1975-78 and 1988-89.

After leaving the council, he continued to be very influential as the Liberal Party’s patriarch in the shire.

Mr Tynan was a member of the board of the NRMA for 12 years from 2003 and, during nine years as deputy president and head of the finance committee, helped turn around the organisation, which had been torn apart by faction fighting.

His strong support of Calvary Hospital Kogarah for more than 35 years typified his commitment to his local community.

Mr Tynan was chairman of the hospital board and a community advisory board, and served on the national board of Calvary Health Care.

Through his company Tynan Motors, he sponsored a host of community organisations and charities over nearly half a century.

These included sporting, health and cultural groups, from schools and small sports clubs to the St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre and the Sharks and Dragons NRL clubs.

Thousands of local achievers were encouraged and acknowledged through the sponsorship of the Leader-Tynan Honda Sports Star of the Year awards, over nearly 40 years.

Mr Tynan married Annette Goyen, the eldest daughter of James ‘‘Jimmy’’ Goyen, a prominent builder in St George, who developed swampland at Gwawley Bay into the suburb of Sylvania Waters in the 1960s.

Michael and Annette Tynan made their home in Sylvania Waters, where they raised five children, Francene, Kieran, Madeline, Daniel and Claire.

The Tynans are known to be an extremely close-knit and protective family .

Despite his success and stature in the community, Mr Tynan was a humble man, who saw Australia as a land of opportunity and refused to accept his achievements were out of the ordinary.

He was renowned for his personal warmth, generosity and being ‘‘a gentleman’’.

Mr Tynan was greatly respected in the motor industry, where he was president of the Motor Traders Association of NSW for five years and a key figure in establishing a new, peak national body, the Australian Automotive Dealer Association.

He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), Queen’s Medal and Australian Bicentennial Medal in recognition of his service to local government.

Former general manager of Sutherland Shire Council, John Rayner said Mr Tynan was ‘‘one of the great leaders of Sutherland Shire’’.

‘‘He always put the shire first even when that meant taking on local state or federal members of his own political persuasion,’’ said Mr Rayner, who worked with 16 shire mayors and presidents over 33 years.

Mr Rayner said Mr Tynan supported many community, volunteer groups through the council and through his business.

‘‘He was proud to be a businessman in the shire, was a hard worker and employed many shire people,’’ he said.

Mr Rayner said, as a councillor, Mr Tynan supported economic development, investment and the creation of local jobs.

‘‘He was the driving force behind projects such as Sutherland Leisure Centre and Cronulla mall and a great supporter of bushfire and emergency services volunteers.

‘‘He always wanted the council to be efficient.’’

Former NSW and St George cricket captain Warren Saunders, who has also been a long-time supporter of Calvary Hospital, said Mr Tynan’s commitment to hospital was ‘‘incredible’’.

‘‘It would be fair to say, apart from the staff and management, he has done more than any other person for Calvary,’’ Mr Saunders said.

‘‘The old hospital became pretty tattered and tired, and we set out to raise the funds to build a new hospital.

‘‘Michael was involved in every aspect.’’

Councillor Kevin Schreiber, a friend for 40 years, said Mr Tynan was ‘‘shire-centric’’, who put the interests of the area first.

‘‘He was a straight-shooter, who called a spade a shovel,’’ Cr Schreiber said.

‘‘Michael was also a very good family man.’’

Chairman of the Australian Automotive Dealer Association, Terry Keating, said Mr Tynan was’’ a very skilled and successful businessman’’.

‘‘That the industry was good to Michael goes without saying, but what I think separated him from most was his desire and ability to give something back,’’ Mr Keating said.

‘‘No doubt Michael was inspired as a younger man by those who did likewise and certainly he repaid the entire industry by serving in many ways to make it a better place for succeeding participants, many of whom probably have no idea the debt of gratitude they owe him.’’

‘‘A BLESSED AND CHARMED LIFE’’

‘‘Humbly, I have led a blessed and charmed life with a wonderful family,’’ Michael Tynan said in an interview last year.

‘‘I’ve had many incredible experiences and am associated with many great people.’’

Born in Carlton in 1935, Michael Tynan was educated at Marist Brothers High School Kogarah, as the college was then called.

After leaving school in year 10, he worked for two years on a dairy farm at Hoxton Park before taking a job in a general warehouse, which supplied a wide range of goods to country and city stores.

He started in the jewellery department and this led him at the age of 21, with what he described as ‘‘the help of some very good people’’, to open his own shop in Railway Parade, Kogarah.

St George was stringing together rugby league premierships at the time, and on Monday mornings a crowd would gather at the Tynan shop for the presentation of a watch to the ‘‘man of the match’’ from the weekend game.

Mr Tynan’s hobby was rally driving, the major motor sport before circuit racing came to the fore.

He raced cars, mainly on dirt roads, for companies such as Generals Motors and British Motor Corporation

After the arrival of their third child, Michael and Annette Tynan decided it was time to give up rally driving.

But, then he received a call asking him to drive a sporty, new Mazda 1500 Luce in an upcoming event.

He said ‘‘no’’, but was so taken with the car he was told to take it home for the night.

When Annette Tynan saw it, she said, “Well, maybe one more.”

His report on the car’s performance was so glowing he was offered the Mazda franchise for Sutherland Shire.

Mr Tynan started selling cars from an old Total petrol station on Princes Highway, Sutherland, on St Patrick’s Day 1966 — a good omen given his Catholic Irish background.

The business, which still occupies that site, grew into Tynan Motors, a multi-franchise operation with 300 employees, selling 14 different makes of vehicles from seven locations in the shire, Wollongong and Nowra.

It will reach the 50 years milestone on March 17 this year.

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